Saturday, November 17, 2012

Doily Macaroon Wads

Today has been beautiful. The sky is overcast with lovely clouds (can you tell I live where overcast is not common?), I took senior portraits of a cowboy, I took myself out to lunch and now I'm feeling creative and crafty. We're in the middle of a waiting game as to whether or not we'll be moving, so I don't want to start any big projects until we know if we're staying here or not...but I'm dying to make something big and fun. Small and sensible will have to do for now (maybe I'll make something for Thanksgiving...hmmmm), but if I were doing a bigger project I think my inspiration would come from AJ's submission. Her picture was great and her story was awesome...just the kind of story and optimism that makes me want to get out and do something fun. 

AJ's friend recently got married, so of course the two of them turned to Pinterest for inspiration. I'll let AJ tell you her story in her own words:

"Maggie and I have been pinning excitedly for months and have talked big game about DIY decorations for the shower and wedding. We picked out our favorite craft pins from our DIY boards, bought our supplies, marked a date on our calendars 4 weeks in advance, discussed what alcohol we’d need for our adventures, and hemmed and hawed over whether my husband should be forced to leave (We let him stay, but he couldn’t get out of there fast enough) our tiny city apartment for the big day (craft day, not wedding day, obvi)."

"The Doily Lantern was the main focus of our endeavors"

The Original Pin
 "The instructions said to purchase doilies, wallpaper glue, and balloons. When pondering where we could find wallpaper glue, I confidently told Maggie that we could use Mod Podge instead. We bought Mod Podge, paper doilies (where does one find lace doilies anyway?), and balloons."

"When we started, we dove right in, painting our balloons with gusto, eagerly dipping Crayola paint brushes into the promising ivory waters of the Mod Podge jar. It didn’t take long before we encountered our first problem."

"The doilies didn’t really stick to the balloon on their own. You  kind of have to hold one doily on while you try to paint and attach another one, which you also have to hold on, so you don’t drop the balloon, and basically this leaves you needing a third hand. Our two hands were covered with glue, and we didn’t have anywhere to set the balloons to get more doilies. It felt like a bizarre crafting standoff. I made Maggie hold both sticky balloons while I triumphantly dug out two really old paper plates from my cupboard (did I mention my husband and I were in the middle of moving into a new house?). Problem solved. Next problem:  I have a Pomeranian. And Maggie has a Schnauzer. And we both have long blonde hair. And in what felt like seconds, our sticky paper-plate balloons were covered with various types of mammal hair. It was more disgusting than you’re imagining, trust me. Maggie lost heart but I urged her on."

"In about an hour and a half, we managed to make four balloons. After they were “complete,” we had no idea how to let them dry. We decided to tie twine around the balloon knots and hang them outside (did I mention I was in the middle of moving?). It was windy and we figured some random city debris and dust wouldn’t hurt the weird paper-plate hair balloon doilies, so we crossed our (Mod Podge-covered) fingers and went back inside."

"Fast forward to the next day: they were dried and inside my house, and I had begun the week-long project of picking dried Mod Podge off my fingernails. I decided to pop the first balloon without alerting Maggie to give myself a trial run. It was a test. I didn’t expect it to go perfectly, but I re-opened the beautiful doily lantern to buoy my spirits. It was more majestic than I remembered and the majesty gave me the courage act."

"I could hear a slow hisssss. Then, like that scene from Inception, our masterpiece began to crumble before my eyes, in slow motion, until it had completely collapsed in on itself. It had gone from a weird hairy orb to what looked like a weird hairy macaroon."

The Pinstrosity

"And as I stared at it, trying to fathom a way to salvage it, I heard my husband ask quietly from behind me “Was that supposed to happen?” I lost it. I laughed so hard I actually cried. I couldn’t breathe. And then I ran to get the next one so we could watch it happen all over again. When I had selfishly popped all four balloons for my own amusement, I took this photo and sent it to Maggie."

"I saved some of the hairy, crunchy macaroon wads and poured over the instructions from the source of the pin (the very beautiful Dos Family), and found we had gone astray in numerous ways. Buried deep in the site, someone finally mentioned that you are supposed to reinflate the balloon with a NEW balloon by blowing it up in the skeleton wad of the collapsed doily. I tried this once, and blew too hard, and the new balloon exploded out of my once crumpled macaroon like a Jack in the Box. Flecks of dried Mod Podge rained down in my apartment like shrapnel. In the comments section of the entry on the Doily Lantern, I learned that we were not alone with our doily trouble. In fact, I felt we had become part of a new community."

"If it hadn’t taken so long to make them, I swear I would encourage each and every person I met to follow our exact procedure so they, too, could experience the childlike joy I felt watching these hairy macaroon doily wads collapse like abandoned bag pipes. And maybe there’s a life lesson in there. Something about being able to laugh at yourself, and tolerate your own failure. Or maybe the real lesson is that Maggie and I should only embark on paper craft projects that have a Martha Stewart starter kit."

Thanks for the wonderful submission AJ! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the optimism throughout, and I think that is exactly what is making me feel the need to go be creative in some way, shape or form. Now to decide what I want to do...


  1. I laughed till I cried. This was so well written and I felt like I was right there. LMAO

  2. Laughing loudly!!! Just priceless, but you left out how Maggie reacted to her ruined wedding ... er, I mean ruined wedding balloon thingies!

  3. Maggie here! I laughed so hard when AJ sent me that photo of our "lanterns," that it more than made up for the whole disaster. We didn't hang them up at the shower, but you know what? We absolutely should have.

    This blog post is getting printed out and added to my shower scrapbook. Thanks for picking AJ's story!! She's a talented writer!!!

  4. I think it was the paper dioly part that did it. The original Pin uses thread or yarn doilies (get them at antique or resale shops for cheap or at garage sales) and the wallpaper glue will act like a fabric stiffer so it will keep its shape. I can't think of a way that paper ones (even with Modge Podge) will have enough structure to stay in the round shape.

  5. I too am laughing so hard that I am crying. This seems like one of those "too good to be true" crafts. Re-inflate a balloon inside the other one? I don't see how that would work with anything!

    1. I was thinking the same!! Re-inflate a balloon inside of the other? :))

  6. This works fine if you had used actual crocheted doilies.

  7. I really enjoyed reading this. Not because I enjoy other people's failures, (although it is hard not to here!) but because the story is so well written! Sorry your project didn't turn out, but I LOVED reading about it. Thanks for sharing it. I am also happy to read that the bride thinks it is funny too. Some people would be inconsolably upset. If the wedding hasn't happened yet, and the project hasn't been disposed of, Maggie might want to consider putting them somewhere discreet at the reception. Kind of a private joke. Weddings, as enjoyable as they are, can be stressful and she will smile, or even laugh, every time she catches a glimpse of them.

  8. That is too funny! I loved how AJ was able to bring us into her ready to move, box-packed apartment, and visualize all the hair coming from two long-haired blonds, a pomeranian and a schnauzer on the project, with the bonus bewildered husband wondering if that was how it was supposed to unfold LOL

    Maybe it was just so funny to me because I have long hair (though I'm a brunette) and no matter how much a clean, vacuum or sweep the house, there's ALWAYS hair all over. Also growing up I owned three dogs - two german Shepherds and one mixed breed that looked like a fox. I totally imagined myself, hands covered in glue with all that mix of hair!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story, and best wishes to the recently married couple.

  9. I'm so glad you all enjoyed this so thoroughly, and thanks to Pinstrosity for opting to share it!

    A point of clarification on what I guess was a typo on my part: you are supposed to inflate a balloon inside the doily macaroon wad to expand it from its crumpled shape--the popped balloon is still inside the wad at this point, but you don't need to inflate the second balloon INSIDE of the first balloon. (Side note: is that even possible?)

    Don't let the taxing thought of balloon-in-balloon reinflation stop you from giving this a go. Seriously, I can't even make slice-and-bake cookies properly, so this might work perfectly for someone who, I don't know, is willing to actually follow the directions on Dos Family.


  10. Elmer's Glue would work and is much cheaper than Mod Podge. Dip the doilies (paper or fabric)in the glue, strip off the excess with your fingers then place on the balloon.

  11. Ive tried this with a massive fail, followed directions to a t,, used a combination of lace and thrifted doilies MASSIVE FAIL! it was great till both balloons burst, i even bought the strongest ply balloons i could find, they were 4 dollars a piece! and all i ended up with was a mass of crusty dry fabric, even with several coats of modgepodge and white glue... its sad it had the possibility of being such a great pendant light, so coming across this post i burst out laughing while my DH looks at me like ive lost my mind, see 6 months later he still doesn't know the project was a fail cause its buried in my craft closet lol

  12. AS I listen to the eerie sound of a crackling balloon slowly pull away from our paper doily dreams, my future daughter in law and I are laughing hysterically. Something that should be so simple has turned out to be an elmers glue nightmare... Thanks for posting. I was afraid we were the only one in the world who couldn't create a paper doily ball!

  13. I made 2 of these for my july wedding. I used beach balls from walmart and rubbed them with cooking oil (i learned from trial and error that if I didn't oil the ball the doilys would stick to the ball and when I popped the ball the entire thing deflated). then i used a mix of wallpaper paste and starch- takes some skill to keep the wet doilies on the oiled ball. haha. once i had the entire ball covered with doilies, I set the ball on an embroidery hoop to dry. it took 3-4 days for it to dry entirely. then i used scissors to cut the beach ball to pop it and pulled it out. I had to cut the ball into peices to get it all out without ruining the fagile doily ball. I was so pleased that they came out just like the pinspiration! HOWEVER!! we got married on a hot July day when it was humid. We hung the doily balls from the trees and about 30 minutes later they deflated due to the humidity. arg.

  14. Hilarious!! I am getting married in July and cracked up as I know this is going to happen to me once we start our crafting endeavors.


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